Home New Music The Bittersweet Taste Of Francis Alban Blake’s ‘Strawberry Jam’

The Bittersweet Taste Of Francis Alban Blake’s ‘Strawberry Jam’

Francis Alban Blake -Strawberry Jam

Folk meets art meets existentialism and jam.

Francis Alban Blake – Strawberry Jam

‘I am, I am, I am, a disappearing hue’ sings one of the refrains of ‘Strawberry Jam’ by Francis Alban Blake. It’s an appropriate metaphor for a song and artist that are both heavily inspired by painters such as Vincent Van Gogh and Matisse, and perhaps it’s no coincidence that both painters had their own struggles with depression. It all seems to tie together in Francis Alban Blake’s latest release. 

Francis Alban Blake is the pseudonym of poet, philosopher and musician Frans de Blaak/Frank Bond, who is deliberately opaque and whimsical about his own background – his bio makes for an interesting read. Still, the releases keep coming, with an album at the beginning of this year and now this latest track.

‘Strawberry Jam’ is a delicate, folk singer-songwriter’s journey through depression, dismay and colour.

The lyrics take the spotlight here, nostalgic, evocative and beautifully crafted – ‘Emerald green, photos look better than the sites I have seen’, ‘I’m like a street in Paris, love knows my name’ are particular stand-out lines. They’re all delivered in Blake’s intimate, tuneful vocals, rich in storytelling. The title may seem a bit random, but the line ‘sweets go bitter on my tongue’ brings it into sharper relief – the fading colours and jaded tastes being a hallmark of depression. 

The production is sparse, to highlight the lyrics, with just a simple thrumming guitar, and mandolin-like riffs ringing through the refrain like church bells. It’s a beautiful little track, with hints of artists like Simon & Garfunkel and Kate bush, and ideal for anyone in search of storytelling and something a bit different. 

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Words Eden Tredweleden